SAGE Journal Articles
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The aims of this study were to test the associations among socio-economic status (SES) and substance use in adolescents, and to compare the relative strength of associations for different types of SES markers, including financial resources and family social status. A total of 113 teenagers reported their substance use, and parents reported family SES. High SES teens were more likely to use substances than low SES teens. Family financial resources were a stronger predictor of substance use than family status. Programs aimed at reducing teen substance use should be aware of these risk factors when developing substance use interventions.
Vartanian, L. R., & Shaprow, J. G. (2008). Effects of weight stigma on exercise motivation and behavior: A preliminary investigation among college-aged females. Journal of Health Psychology, 13, 131-138.
This study examined the relation between weight stigma, exercise motivation and exercise behavior. One hundred female undergraduates (BMIs [kg/m2] 17—38) completed measures of experiences with weight stigma, body dissatisfaction, self-esteem and exercise motivation, and reported on their exercise behavior. Stigma experiences were positively correlated with BMI and body dissatisfaction. Importantly, stigma experiences were related to increased desire to avoid exercise, even when controlling for BMI and body dissatisfaction. Exercise avoidance was in turn related to less frequent strenuous and moderate exercise. These findings suggest that weight stigma (through its impact on avoidance motivation) could potentially decrease physical activity levels.
Two studies demonstrated that the motivation to resolve cognitive dissonance affects the visual perception of physical environments. In Study 1, subjects crossed a campus quadrangle wearing a costume reminiscent of Carmen Miranda. In Study 2, subjects pushed themselves up a hill while kneeling on a skateboard. Subjects performed either task under a high-choice, low-choice, or control condition. Subjects in the high-choice conditions, presumably to resolve dissonance, perceived the environment to be less aversive than did subjects in the low-choice and control conditions, seeing a shorter distance to travel (Study 1) and a shallower slope to climb (Study 2). These studies suggest that the impact of motivational states extends from social judgment down into perceptual processes.
Perkins, H. W., Craig, D. W., & Perkins, J. M. (2011). Using social norms to reduce bullying: A research intervention among adolescents in five middle schools. Group Processes Intergroup Relations, 14, 703-722.
Bullying attitudes and behaviors and perceptions of peers were assessed in a case study experiment employing a social norms intervention in five diverse public middle schools in the State of New Jersey (Grades 6 to 8). Data were collected using an anonymous online survey (baseline n = 2,589; postintervention n = 3,024). In the baseline survey, students substantially misperceived peer norms regarding bullying perpetration and support for probullying attitudes. As predicted by social norms theory, they thought bullying perpetration, victimization, and probullying attitudes were far more frequent than was the case. Also as predicted, variation in perceptions of the peer norm for bullying was significantly associated with personal bullying perpetration and attitudes. Using print media posters as the primary communication strategy, an intervention displaying accurate norms from survey results was conducted at each of the five school sites. A pre-/postintervention comparison of results revealed significant reductions overall in perceptions of peer bullying and probullying attitudes while personal bullying of others and victimization were also reduced and support for reporting bullying to adults at school and in one’s family increased. The extent of reductions across school sites was associated with the prevalence and extent of recall of seeing poster messages reporting actual peer norms drawn from the initial survey data. Rates of change in bullying measures were highest (from around 17% to 35%) for the school with the highest message recall by students after a one-and-a-half-year intervention. Results suggest that a social norms intervention may be a promising strategy to help reduce bullying in secondary school populations.